View Full Version : Training Program for my Wife

Derek Simonds
05-07-2007, 04:15 PM
My wife and I need some help coming up with a training template for her.

Here is the pertinent information.

1) No Bench Press
2) Work out T, W, F, S
3) Up to 75 minutes on the 4 days above for working out
4) Tracy is genetically very gifted she is currently 5' 5 1/2, 135 lb and fairly muscular with a BF% right around 20. This is with no real program and a diet that would scare the paleo right out of members of this board :D.

Tracy has done triathlons in the past, and currently rows for 30 minutes 2 - 3 times per week. She has also done BFL with great results. Tracy wants to tone her glutes as well as her abs. We will be going on vacation June 7th and Tracy does best with short term programs. We have a fully functional xFit / O-lift gym at the house including DB's up to 45 lb's. She has done xFit but is very structured and does not like not knowing what she is going to be doing each day.

Let's throw some ideas out and have at it. If you need any additional info let us know. Thanks in advance!

Don Stevenson
05-07-2007, 04:37 PM
Why not something nice and simple

2 workouts done twice a week

week 1+2


power clean
push press
snatch pull
Back squat

Followed by 10-20 minutes of a metcon or rowing workout


Power snatch
Front squat
Back extensions/good mornings
Clean pull/deadlift

10 - 20 minutes of metcon

Next week go to 5x4 and add a little bit of weight, then 5x3 add weight.

Of course i'm biased since i'm an O lifting coach but for a 4 week program that should give you a a good base to specialise off.

Derek Simonds
05-07-2007, 05:37 PM
Don I love the simplicity of the routine. I have been planning on doing Dan John's big 21 program starting next week, but now that I saw your plan I think I will use that myself. That would give me 4 weeks to build some additional strength before hitting the big 21.

I probably should have mentioned that my wife is also a wee bit o-lift shy. She will do them she just doesn't feel like she is technically proficient enough to really see the benefits. I will discuss it with her after she gets home from adult gymnastics.

Don Stevenson
05-07-2007, 07:19 PM
well there is only one way to improve and no time like the present to start!

she can always start light and you'll notice that all the olifting stuff is basic stuff like power clean and power snatch.

Steve Shafley
05-07-2007, 08:07 PM
125 sets per workout?

Let's do the math!

So, with workouts lasting 75 minutes, she's going to do a set EVERY 36 seconds and that's with no rest at all.

And then add 10-20 minutes of MetCon to it?

Let's be realistic here. Is that really what you meant, Don?

Rick Deckart
05-07-2007, 11:10 PM
I think it's 125 reps per workout, 5 set x 5 reps x 5 exercises, which changes the picture a bit. Assuming you would start each set on the second minute (which is a bit unrealistic with higher poundages, especially for the TGU) this would take approx. 50 minutes...

Derek Simonds
05-08-2007, 02:41 AM
Steve I read it as 5 sets of 5 reps by 5 exercises for a total of 125 reps. Not really a lot of time to mess around but doable for me in the time I have since I do conditioing later.

I dont know if my wife will go wth this program.

Allen Yeh
05-08-2007, 04:21 AM

Right now I'm doing something using this template found in this article:


One day is a strength workout and one day is a metcon workout and you pick the exercise selection just make sure it's all balanced out.

That leaves you the other 2 days to use for rowing or something else.

My suggestions/modifications:
Strength workout - Tuesday
warmup: to include glute bridges and x band walks
A1. Back or front squat 5x5
(90 sec full rest between exercises but alternate)
A2. inverted or ring Rows or 1 arm db rows 5x5

B1. single leg straight leg deadlift (really concentrate on the stable leg and pulling with the glute/hamstring) 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
(60 sec full rest between exercise)
B2. Horizontal Push 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps (I know you said no bench, so pushups or ring pushups?

C1. Miscellaneous (triceps) 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
C2. Miscellaneous (biceps) 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
C3. Core Movement (Reverse Crunch) 3-4 sets x 15 reps
(triset of all 3 with 90seconds rest after)

D. 10-15 Minutes "After-Burn"
*2 Minute Warm-up
*30 seconds high(er) intensity (sprint), 90 seconds low(er) intensity (recovery)
*Perform 5-7 Rounds
*2 Minute Cool down
This can essentially be done on any cardio machine or running outside.

Metcon - Saturday
warmup: glute bridges and x band walks included
A1. Deadlift Variation - if she's not liking conventional, you could always go with suitcase deadlifts and switch sides each rep?
A2. pullups
A3. overhead press
A4. 1 legged squat - really focuse on keeping it tight/controlled
*Originiallay recommended as 4 sets of 10 but if those reps aren't doable for the above exercises then you can break it up into X sets of Y to get 40? and keep the rest shorter.
**Perform in a circuit fashion. Do all sets back-to-back, then rest 90 seconds. Repeat for allotted number of sets.

B1. Rotator Cuff (External Rotation) 3x10
B2. Core Movement (Roll-Outs) 3x10
C. 15-20 Minutes LIGHT Aerobic Activity (I doubt you will want to do any interval work after this training session).

This template is pretty flexible and it's still thorough.

On W and F I'd opt with either just rowing or some type of barbell/dumbbell complex, but not using the olympic lifts. nothing too heavy but enough to be hard after a few rounds.

Allen Yeh
05-08-2007, 04:27 AM
An article on 50-yard sprints:

I had actually started doing more sprints before my whole 5 mile thing so I can't speak the how effective the above program might be.

Chad Waterbury's Figure Article:
While sometimes I actually tend NOT to like what he writes, this article didn't seem to rub me the wrong way.

Don Stevenson
05-08-2007, 04:36 AM
125 sets! where did you get that from. I'm sick but i'm not that sick.

I would suggest when starting out that 5x5 is going to be lots of technique and then when you get to 5x3 you will start adding weight.

Allens plan looks ok too but i've just about gone cross eyed reading it all.

Steve Shafley
05-08-2007, 05:31 AM
Hahahah. I don't know. I think I was tired when I read it. Damn, that's funny.

I think 5x5 for 5 exercises is still a bit much when it comes to most folks. Something more focused on her goals is probably.

Eva Claire Synkowski
05-08-2007, 06:02 AM
yeah, i agree with steve. doesn't seem like she's doing much lifting now, even 5 sets by 5 reps may be a bit much.

ive enjoyed pavel's PTTP approach of 2 sets x 5 reps (second second is ~10% back off set) for all my strength lifts. she would def have time for metcon with that rep scheme on don's program.

Dave Van Skike
05-08-2007, 09:50 AM
yeah, i agree with steve. doesn't seem like she's doing much lifting now, even 5 sets by 5 reps may be a bit much.

ive enjoyed pavel's PTTP approach of 2 sets x 5 reps (second second is ~10% back off set) for all my strength lifts. she would def have time for metcon with that rep scheme on don's program.

My wife is doing a modified version of this. PTP with presses and front squats. She loves it.

Steve Liberati
05-08-2007, 11:57 AM
First don't underestimate the benefits of walking....women have been practicing this art from the beginning of time. Its engraved in their genetic makeup. Nothing beats a light walk first thing in the morning or one after dinner. Its easy and fun and preferred by most women over metcon or rowing type of workout.

For specific workouts, Art D has some good thoughts on this topic here:

When my wife was into working out a few months ago, mixing it up and keeping workouts short and simple seem to be the key.

I would typically pick 4-5 exercises for her workout depending on how she felt that day. 2-3 days a week was enough. Anymore and we walked the line of turning exercise into a chore.

For example:
Squats: 15, 8, 4
Shoulder dumbell press: 10, 6, 3, 2 x 1, 2 negatives
Incline DB press: 10, 8, 6.
Thrusters 15, 8, 4

Here is the full article for more suggestions:

Above all, I'm sure we can all come up with a thousand different workouts for your wife here, but the most important thing is to find out what she likes to do. Expose her to as many programs as she is willing to try and find the one that she enjoys doing the most. Then go from there.

-Ross Hunt
05-08-2007, 12:37 PM
Since no one's addressed this-- what exercises would be appropriate to addresss the specific areas that Derek says his wife wants to address? Suggestions:

Glutes--Front or back barbell lunges or split squats, bulgarian split-squats.
Abdominals--gymnastics stuff, obviously, but also incline sit-ups or glute-ham sit-ups, going only to back parallel to ground, and pausing there for 4-8 seconds. Weight held behind the head.

Does she want to develop her obliques, as well, or mostly just the abdominals? Windmills, in my experience, will add improve oblique size very quickly, but that may or may not be what she wants.

Derek Simonds
05-08-2007, 12:58 PM
Great stuff from everyone. Tracy and I have some reading to do.

Don Stevenson
05-08-2007, 07:05 PM
As I said, i'm biased towards simple programs and I'm biased towards O lifting. Hopefully that doesn't make me a bad man:D

Daniel Myers
05-09-2007, 05:19 PM
I'll give this one a shot. This is based on some things I've been trying lately, and it seems to work well.

Four workouts per week, each one should take about an hour.

Day 1, Squat Focus:

Farmer's Walk: three trips, as far as possible on each
Core/Abs: Sit-ups with weight behind head

Day 2, Vertical Push/Pull Focus:

Overhead Press
Pullups: if she can't do pullups, do jumps and negatives, working on a full rep
Core/Abs: Side Bends

Day 3, Horizontal Push/Pull Focus:

Dips: you said no bench pressing, hopefully this is okay
Bent-Over Row
Core/Abs: Turkish Get-Up

Day 4, Deadlift Focus:

Core/Abs: L-Sits
Yoga: 5-10 sun salutations, then several minutes of savasana (corpse pose)


Begin every session with a quick warmup.

Sets and reps are at your discretion. 5x5 is a good starting place, and you can manipulate from there to find the scheme that matches your wife's personality. For the abs and lunges, I like higher reps -- say 3 sets of 10 -- and doubles or triples on the deadlift.

Metcon workouts should be 10-15 minutes. Use your own favorites. If three metcons per week is too much, replace Day 2's metcon with yoga, as on Day 4.

If you want more variation, keep the same template but substitute exercises. For example, squats can be back, front, or overhead. Your vertical push can be presses, jerks, or handstand pushups, etc.

Walk as much as you can on the off days. It helps with recovery, and more movement is always good.

Pretty basic. Let me know what you think.

P.S. This is my first post. Big fan of the community here.

Jamila Bey
05-10-2007, 01:34 AM
Just my humble opinion as a woman who used to follow the Shape/Self/Fitness routines: 5X5 is nothing extreme. Most of the routines to (allegedly) get you a JLo booty or a Halle Berry back have you doing 3 sets of 10 reps of 5 or 6 different exercises.

I'd love to weigh in (ha ha) more specifically, but running like a slave toward freedom has let me drop 25# in the past two months... I'm pretty biased toward football-centric workouts.

**And DAMN RIGHT I can make that joke!!!***

Jamila Bey
05-15-2007, 10:49 PM
(whistling and looking away)

Make one joke about slavery and the whole thread dies out...

Steve Liberati
05-16-2007, 03:38 AM
Actually in retrospect, it looks to me like CrossFit would be just her ticket. Varied, intense and functional. Did she try CrossFit yet?

Allen Yeh
05-16-2007, 04:06 AM

Did your wife decide upon anything?

Allen Yeh
05-16-2007, 04:07 AM
Actually in retrospect, it looks to me like CrossFit would be just her ticket. Varied, intense and functional. Did she try CrossFit yet?



"She has done xFit but is very structured and does not like not knowing what she is going to be doing each day."

Derek Simonds
05-16-2007, 04:51 AM


"She has done xFit but is very structured and does not like not knowing what she is going to be doing each day."

Yep' she cant stand not being able to plot out exctly what she is going to do in a week.

For right now she is working on fixing her diet (paleo) and getting in 3 short workouts per week. I will update in a week to see how she does.

Chris Forbis
05-16-2007, 02:24 PM
Have her run a week behind on the WOD.